First off what is Yoga Nidra?
Yoga Nidra means Sleep, in this form of Yogic sleep we slow down the brain waves but are still aware of our surroundings. We train our mind to float in the in-between state of sleep and consciousness, during this guided relaxation, we are fully aware but deeply relaxed.
In Shavasana (lying down on the ground) you are guided through feeling sensations of the breath and the body in order to activate the relaxation response, balancing the parasympathetic and sympathetic nervous system.
From alpha, you go into a deep alpha and high theta brain-wave state, the dream state, REM sleep. In theta, your thoughts slow down to 4 to 8 thoughts per second. This is where super learning happens. Kids and artists experience a lot more theta activity in their brains.
From delta, the guided yoga nidra meditation takes you into a deeper brain-wave state, that can’t be reached through our normal conventional sleep. In this fourth state of consciousness, below delta, your brain is thoughtless. This state is sort of like a complete loss of consciousness, but you are awake!!
This state is one of a deep surrender, where your consciousness seems far away from the physical body. Not everyone who practices yoga nidra touches this state, but the more you practice, the more you’ll receive.
Benefits of Yoga Nidra
1) Promotes better sleep.
Yoga Nidra is a great and effective way of falling asleep at night. For anyone who's nervous system is in a state of stress it can be very difficult to sleep, in turn lack of sleep brings its own problems. It is also an effective way of resting during the day if you feel tired, a Yoga siesta if you like! Swami Satyananda is supposed to have said that one hour of Yoga Nidra is equal to four hours of sleep. I have never seen evidence to support this but I have felt the positive effects!
2) Reduces Stress & Anxiety.
As i mentioned above yoga nidra helps to calm and balance the nervous system, while being guided to observe the breath and sensations of the body the mind is guided away from the worries of a busy modern life.
3) Manifest your dreams.
During the process of Yoga Nidra you are guided to create what's called a sankalpa. This is a short positive statement that is said mentally to yourself three times as though its already happening. For example if you are trying to manifest the job of your dreams you might say " I am a successful __________ and am fulfilled in my work" This helps you to believe you can achieve anything.
4) Reduces chronic pain.
According to an article in the Boston Globe
“the US Army Surgeon General endorsed yoga nidra as an intervention in treating chronic pain”. This deeply relaxing practice of yogic sleep gives the body time to rest, recover and restore, which brings down inflammation and improves the function of the immune system.
5) Improves Concentration.
With the advancement of technology our concentration levels are not as strong as they used to be. Yoga Nidra trains the mind to be one-pointed. As you direct your attention in a systematic and orderly fashion for a definite period of time, you increase your ability to concentrate. A one-pointed mind is helpful in all areas of life, but it is most important in the journey toward self-understanding.
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